Oct 31, 2014

Got Beef? Delicious Barbecue Brought to You from Korea to America - Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

Kang Ho Dong is an entertainer from Korea, where he does the MC, comedian works, and also owns several chained restaurants. His Korean barbecue business was then transported to America, with stores opening in various locations in California, New York, even Hawaii!



Kang Ho Dong in K-town Los Angeles (street view) -



It's hard to tell how busy the restaurant is looking at the empty street, well, because that's not the main entry. Take a turn on the corner and you'll find an entrance leading to the plaza where many restaurants gathered -



The guy on the comic poster? That's Kang Ho Dong.

The plazas in Ktown rarely get so crowded till night falls, but this one was already filled with cars before noon -



Customers waiting in line -



Little quite area inside the restaurant, which soon will be packed once they let more customers in -



And it'll look something like this -



By the way, we got there around 11:40 a.m. on a weekend and still waited for around 45 minutes before getting a table. Crazy, especially considering there are so many other good Korean barbecue around the area.

Before we even started, the grill is already half-set with egg mixture on one side, creamed corn on the other. There are also small selection on banchan, dipping sauce, and salad greens -



Secret house sauce with wasabi on the side -



Onion strings -



Besides the leafy greens, there is one other type of shredded salad with mostly bean sprouts and scallions from Kang Ho Dong -


It's well seasoned compared to the lighter leafy greens. Since the restaurant does not provide neither the duk bo sam (rice paper) nor the thinly sliced pickled radish like the majority of other Korean barbecue joints do, most customers eat the grilled meat with this salad instead. Good in a way, forcing us to eat more veggies while the sole purpose of this meal was to devour meat, large chunks of meat. 



Menu (click on the image for an enlarged view) -


Beef selection - 


Love the funny comic drawing of Kang Ho Dong in the background.

Pork selection -


Combo -


Meal selection -


Drinks -


The bells, just ring it if you need server's attention -


Must have Korean beer -


The server does most of the grilling and cutting the meat into bite size pieces for you. I personally prefer it this way especially after numerous experiences of dining out with friends who claim they can do a better job and took over the barbecue tongs. Let's just leave the hard work to the well trained professionals.


Premium seared pork belly, beef tongue, outside skirt -


Large chunks of meat (great!) -


Sliced rib eye and beef tongue -


The beef tongue is slightly thicker than usual ones, especially when compared with most of the all you can eat places -


The server will start with the beef -


We got two grills, one seems to have heat distribution issue because the egg was never cooked through even till the end. The server wasn't too responsive with our doubt that the grill is not working right, she only kept asking us to be patient. 


Good thing we can steal the eggs from the other grill and it's refillable. Some of the grilled meat oil drizzled down to the egg mixture, therefore adds more flavor (and chances of clogged artery) to this pleasant side dish.


Something raw first while waiting for the meat to be ready, beef tartar with raw egg yolk and pear strings -


The fruity sweetness from the pear was key to the tartar.

Yes! the beef is ready -


The wasabi wasn't quite as pungent as expected. So just be brave and mix it all together with the secret house sauce. 

Special pork neck -


Marinated boneless short rib -


Eating with garlicky lettuce shredded salad -


Prime rib eye -


Grilled till about 30% cooked through -


Then the server will come over the cut the meat into large bite size pieces -


Just pick it up when the beef reaches your desired rareness -


Endless meat -


And the portion of short rib even overflows over the grill -


Got too lazy wrapping the meat with lettuce towards the end -


Kimchi stew, only if it helps washing down the beef fat -


Shaking lunch box, before -


The server will first show you what's inside the lunch box then close the lid, followed by 10 seconds of shaking action. Tough job. I would love to order this one more time just too see them shaking the lunch box over and over again (evil grin). 

Shaking lunch box, after -


We appreciate the 10 seconds workout session that gives us this nicely combined rice mixture. Dried seaweed dominates the flavor. 

The server usually cooks the pork last -


Here's the proof that the egg mixture was never cooked through from our side of the grill. Only the surface looks somewhat congealed into a thin layer -


Pork belly in the process -


Love it when most of the fat has been rendered with slightly burned crunchy edges -


Our bill for 8 people, quite a bargain -


Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is not as refined as Park's Barbecue around the area, but the price is a lot more wallet-friendly. If you're looking for something better than all you can eat Korean barbecue without over the top price tags, Kang Ho Dong can be a good choice.


Cindy's rating: 7


Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong
3465 West 6th Street. Suite 20
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 384-9678

*Parking available on the street and inside the plaza 

Oct 25, 2014

Refreshing Lemony Shrimp Pasta for a Light Weekend Meal

Lemon is probably one of my favorite ingredients used in cooking. This versatile fruit can be found in my kitchen almost all the time. I can add some lemon juice or lemon slices in water, use the zest in cooking or baking, the already squeezed wedges can even be stored in the fridge to eliminate unwanted odors. Must Love Lemon. 

Tired of having red meat for meals over the past few days, my oily tummy is crying for lighter food. Lemon can provide that refreshing touch for food. So here it is, this lemony pasta with shrimp and chicken came to a rescue.

Lemony shrimp pasta -



Ingredients (for 3 to 4 portion)?


  • 1 pack/250 grams of conchiglie or medium seashells pasta
  • 18 small shrimps (deveined and peeled)
  • 6 chicken tender
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 lemon 
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes
  • Small pinch of dried thyme


How?

This beautiful bag of conchiglie/shell-shaped pasta was sitting around my pantry for quite some time. The colors came from squid ink, tulip, carrot, and spinach. Such vibrant pasta should work pretty well with this refreshing recipe -



Bring a big pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta till al dente in texture. If you time it well, the pasta should be ready just when the other ingredients are about done and ready to be mixed together.

Peel and dice the onion into smaller cubes. Chop the chicken tender into smaller cubes. Peel and devein the shrimps. 

Drizzle some olive oil to the pan and add in the onion along with salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Mix a little and cook till the onion turns translucent, or even a tiny bit browned on the edges.

Add in the chicken pieces and wait till about 80% cooked through, add in the shrimps.

Quickly add the zest and juice of one lemon into the mixture. Also sprinkle a small pinch of dried thyme for extra herbal aroma. The shrimps should be ready quickly. Pour in drained pasta and mix well. Taste and see if more salt is needed. 



You can also substitute the chicken with calamari and make it a full plate of seafood feast. 



Served with Tabasco if a spicier taste is preferred. In fact, the sourish taste from the Tabasco actually works quite well with this lemony pasta.



Perhaps add some freshly chopped flat leaf parsley to add more fresh herbal scent for the conchiglie. Can't be any more refreshing than this.

Other pasta recipe: 
Make ahead recipe - spaghetti with pesto made with anchovies, green olives, and parsley
Fusion pasta recipe - creamy and garlicky kimchi pork spaghetti
Wine pairing - lamb ragu with Punica Barrua 2010
Spicy chicken and broccoli spaghetti, topped with grated Pecorino Romano and poached egg
Spaghetti saffron style with prawns, smoked bacon, and asparagus